Mentoring Is Championing

Do you have a great mentor or average mentor? Are you being promoted by your mentor to senior leaders?  

How often do we ask ourselves, “In my organization – who is my champion, my advocate, the one who believes in me?” “The one who is stepping out and stepping up to support me?” “Who takes a determined risk to promote me when others may have doubts?” Great mentors and coaches aren’t just great at assessing and listening, they are promoting their “charges” to their leaders and others. We think of mentors as guiding us, but great mentors also guide their bosses.

We don’t even know what skill that requires, but they do. They know if they are having impact. And our best chance to find a mentor that is valued and credentialed in the boardroom – requires our investigation.

Just because we, or our leader, believe someone could be a great mentor and would be candid with us, doesn’t mean they are our best option. The mentor needs an agent or a representative on our behalf at the boardroom table. How do we find out?

We investigate, talk to others, and gather real input from what others have seen and heard about in the behind-closed-doors senior level meetings. We need to understand that dynamic.

Does our mentor have a voice at the table? Do they push back on senior leaders who wonder if you are good for a senior role? Have you asked your mentor what they need to become your champion?

Great coaching begins with believing – believing in their mentees, the process, and the future. The future with us in a role where we believe we can provide great value and contribute to the organization.

If we aren’t sure in ourselves for a certain role – are we only going along with mentors saying we should pursue a certain position or role?  Are we going for that role because family members are pushing us? I have seen senior leaders pursuing even greater roles because a family member is pushing them behind the scene. Live the life you choose, less the life expected of you by others.

Mentor selection and expectation is so about guiding us, teaching, assessing, and coaching. The unheralded value of being our great mentor is to also be our champion. That  is equally important. If our great mentor encourages us and pumps us up as capable and qualified, yet under direct examination from their boss wilts when questioned on our readiness, we may need a new mentor or advocate.  

Mentoring isn’t just instruction, it includes promotion. If my mentor can’t promote me – then get me to where you can promote me to others. Believe in me – not just to my face but also my boss’ face. Great mentors have broad influence. That’s the mentor I want.

Carry on. Champ-ion!

Jim

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